a/u: i'm really unsure about this? but i always imagined him really scattered after a nightmare. i'm going to continue this, i think. reviews would be blessed, thank you.

There's something so beautiful about the naked body– that is, until its lying face down in a pool if its own blood.

Even after all the mess and destruction, I couldn't help but cringe when Sherlock and I arrived at the scene. It was grotesque.

"She was beaten to death, by the look of it, but we still don't know why she's naked o –"

"She was taking a bath when it happened," Sherlock offered, kneeling down by the woman.

She was beautiful, even in death, and I wasn't the only one who saw it. Lestrade had a deep, almost longing look in his eyes. Saddened by the waste of a beautiful face. She was slim (you could see the outline of her hipbones, even as she lay on her stomach) with dark red waves. Natural. One of her hands was lying on the floor, upturned so that her palm was facing us. She looked like she could have played piano. Long, graceful fingers, but messy nails. Short.

"The husband isn't home. It's very possible that an intruder c–"

"Where are the children?" Sherlock asked.

"Yeah, with the ambulance," Lestrade said, motioning outside. "But they were down for a nap."

Sherlock stood, suddenly, and brushed himself off. I watched him link his hands behind his back, but something in the way his fingers met was odd; they shook, just a little. Just enough so that he had to grip them with his own.

"Have you contacted the husband?"

"We've been trying."

"Try harder. He's the one who did it."

"Well, we're going to send in for DNA testing, but there's no way to be sure t–"

"I am sure. He was the one."


I watched them talk, silent spare for a sigh– their mouths were like guns, firing bullets at each other.

"Why would someone kill the mother and not the children? There was a possibility that they could have seen them kill her. No, he didn't kill the children because he couldn't."

"What?" Lestrade shot me a look. I shrugged.

"Have the paramedics check the children for bruises. Anything that's a red flag for child abuse."

"Why would you think they were abused? That's absurd. The father is a working man, a nice one, hell, I've had dinner wi–"

"Who else would kill his wife over something like rape and then not kill the children?"

"You're out of your mind, Sherlock."

With a huff, Sherlock turned on his heel and I followed, assuming that he was heading home. The sky was growing dark– he must not be hungry, but I was. When we were out of the house, (perfect white home with a fence; hallmark.) the detective made a beeline towards the ambulance.

"What are you doing?" I hissed, grabbing his cuff.

"What everyone else is obviously too stupid to do," Sherlock said, ripping his hand away from my grasp.

I winced as he approached, because I knew how he was with people, and I was suddenly afraid that he would damage these children. There were two of them, the eldest a skinny, blonde haired boy, and the younger a little round faced girl. She couldn't have been more than two years old. The girl was crying, still, but the boy was something to really look at– he was stone, at age six, with one arm around his shaking sibling and his eyes trained on Sherlock as he stopped in front of them.

He kneeled down. I dreaded what he would say, what sly remark would escape his lips; already was trying to explain to Lestrade what happened, already apologizing. The softness of his voice shocked me.

"I know this is a stupid question," he began, looking up at them, "but are you alright?"

The boy was the one who answered. "There's no such thing as a stupid question."

Sherlock reached up and brushed his hair from his face– such a gentle motion, and something I had never seen him do. But once the hair was up enough, I understood. Bruises. Retreating, yes, but blooming across his forehead, darker in a few spots that were just the size of fingertips. The boy shook, looking at Sherlock with wide eyes. Tired eyes.

"Where else?" Sherlock whispered.

Lestrade joined by my side and cursed quietly. The boy lifted up his shirt, exposing more bruises, more fingertip paintings up his ribcage, and Sherlock nodded.

"Her, too?"

He nodded.


Nobody moved. Sherlock stayed where he was, his hand dropping until it rested on the child's. Comfort. I didn't think that Sherlock even knew what that was.

"What's going to happen to me?"

Sherlock's back stiffened, as if the question shook him. After a moment of staring at the ground, (I could almost see the gears turning in that manic head) he looked up again. Didn't smile. His words were almost too soft to hear.

"You're going to have a lot of people tell you that it wasn't your fault," he murmured, "and you're not going to believe them. And everyone will tell you that you'll move on, even though you won't. And it will hurt, and hurt a lot. You won't forget it, because how can you? Everything that happened you to and your sister already happened, and I know that its bad and terrible, and I know that it really hurts. That it hurts a lot. But you're going to sit down at think to yourself 'what's the point of being hurt if you just sit there and hurt?'. You're going to be strong, because you always have been, haven't you?"

"I can't hear him," Lestrade said to me. I shushed him.

"Is it my fault?" he asked.

I didn't realize that he was crying until Sherlock wiped away a stray tear. "No. None of it."

The doctors took over, then, and Sherlock made his way back to us.

"What was that?" I asked.

"What was what?" Irritable, again. Back to old Sherlock.

"Doesn't matter. You were right, I guess," Lestrade said.

"I know." Sherlock turned and didn't bother to look back to see if I was following.

We slid into a cab. I was grateful for the sudden warmth; my jumper and coat only protect me so much. Beside me, Sherlock was mute– as he usually was after a solved case. I let myself study him, as I sometimes did.

There was something silent about him, but it wasn't his lack of words. Instead the quiet nestled itself in between his fingers as he tapped on his knee, or how he worked his jaw while he gazed as the passing city.

"Will you stop staring at me?" he whispered sharply.

"Sorry. Do you want to get Chinese food?"

"I'm not hungry."

"What a shock." He didn't reply, just kept tapping on his leg. "Would you eat something if I asked nicely?" I asked, a bit sharp.

Sherlock stopped the tapping. Turned to me. I saw him think briefly, his gaze fluttering over my face before he smiled thinly.

"As you wish," he said sarcastically, but gave the cabbie the fastest route to the Chinese take out place reserved for 'after cases'.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– –––

"You're not eating," I noted, pointed a fork at his untouched plate.

"I said that I wasn't hungry. Have you thought about taking the case with me about the missing body p–"

"Not at dinner, Sherlock," I said, but I laughed anyway.

Earned a small smile. He twirled his noodles around on his fork, but didn't eat. His fingers shook a little. After all this time, I still didn't understand why the man just didn't eat. It was as if it was a war; and I knew war.

He toyed with the cuff of his shirt. Shivered, a little. I didn't blame him, because it was chilly in here and I wondered how he wasn't shivering all the time because he was so thin. He licked his lips; bit the bottom on. I watched him gaze at the table, but he was absent.

"Are you alright?"

Sherlock met my gaze and scowled. "Yes, of course."

"You're still not eating."

"I'm still not hungry."

I rolled my eyes. "You're even more childish than usual," I muttered, but the insult was half hearted.

Sherlock looked oddly pale under the lights; translucent. When he ate a few mouthfuls, I was satisfied, and we left, because that was simple. And that was good.

I tried to ignore how small Sherlock seemed to look when he curled into a ball on the couch.

"Are you going to sleep there?" I asked, slipping out of my shoes.


There was a pregnant pause, in which I imagined walking over to the couch and demanding that Sherlock get up and be a normal human being for once.

"Goodnight, then," I said. Too late to deal with this.

Sherlock didn't answer, and I didn't look back at him as I trailed up the stairs to my room.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– –––––

I remember dying, and then realizing that it was a dream, and them wishing all at once that I really was dead and that my life was a dream. Some sort of sick joke.

My mind is like an intersection of highways, but the cars never stop. No stop lights, no stop sighs and once in a while they just crash. It's okay for them to crash. I know it is. But when they crash and I have to remember, the hardest part is knowing that I actually have to remember. There is no way out.

When I saw the boy with fingerprint bruises on his ribs, there was a car crash– I could almost have controlled it. Almost. I hate almost– such a finicky word.

His bruises sent back a thousand pictures, cracking my hard drive and suddenly I am five years old again with my bed soaking wet and my pajamas dirty and my face wet with tears. There is a hand on my back, comforting, and my brother collects me in his arms and lets me cry.

not your fault, sherock. it's okay.

I never believed him. My father told me that I was too old to wet the bed, after that, and made me sit in the cellar until I dried off. It took a long time, I know, and I was cold but dry by the time dawn rolled around.

When it happened again and it was my father that found me, wondering the halls for my brothers room, he took me by the ear and yanked me towards the cellar. I cried. He slapped me. For a moment the highways in my brain failed to connect 'father' with 'pain'. When they did, I was already in the cellar and I was cold and wet and, god, I was sobbing because I didn't understand what had happened.

The months around that age are a blur of 'he hit his head on the table' and 'he fell down, don't know what happened to his eye' and I was very well aware that everyone knew what was happening and nobody cared. That's the big thing. You can look and see all you want, but to care and to do something was something that nobody had in them.

I don't remember what I did to make my father so angry that he had me up against the wall, hand against my face again and against until there was blood running down my face. My head pounded. It had been moths since I cried, but I cried, then, because nobody was home and ohmygosh he is going to kill me. His hands circled my throat.

I wondered if God was real.

Vision slipped. The first sign of lack of oxygen. I hurt. Pain had stopped being a feeling, rather a color, and the color dripped all over my body. I shook, I knew, and my father's face was beet red and so so so angry.

I scrambled to my feet. The walls unraveled and came back together, their presence almost pushing me back down to the couch before I lost my 'could have been dinner' into the toilet. My limbs shook and my throat burned. I could feel my knees begin to bruise. Must have hit the ground hard.

For a moment I leaned against the tile, unsure if I could stand. The walls were cool against my damp forehead. Grounding; foundation.

I am here and this is now and that is not here anymore. I am not there. I am not there. I am here. He is gone. I am here. I am here. I amhereiamhereiamhereiamhere.